The world is changing. The generation gap is narrowing, and people are more focused on having fun and enjoying life than ever before. At the same time, many companies still struggle with how to harness the benefits of this change in values and attitudes. For example:
- How can employers use their employee’s age diversity for competitive advantage?
- How do we ensure that our workplace is inclusive for all employees regardless of age or background?
In this article, we’ll share insights into these questions.
What is Age Diversity?
Let’s start by defining what age diversity is. Age diversity is the difference in the ages of people in a workplace. That may sound obvious, but it’s more nuanced than you might think: when we talk about age diversity, we’re not just talking about the difference between employees and their managers. We’re also talking about how old one employee is compared with another employee, or even two different departments at your company—and how those factors affect their experiences at work and how they approach their jobs.
While some people may assume that older workers are less adaptable or require more hand-holding than younger ones do because they are presumably set in their ways (or so goes conventional wisdom), research shows this isn’t necessarily true.
In fact, studies show that older workers tend to have less stress with new technologies and flexible schedules than younger ones do; moreover, older employees tend to have higher levels of emotional intelligence than younger ones do—an important quality for managers who want self-aware team members who can help solve problems collaboratively.
What are the 5 Generations?
The five generations of employees in the workplace are:
- The Silent Generation, born between 1925 and 1942
- The Baby Boomers, born between 1943 and 1964
- Generation X, born between 1965 and 1980
- Millennials, born between 1982 and 1996
- Generation Z, born between 1997 and 2012
How to Harness Age Diversity in the Workplace?
When it comes to age diversity in the workplace, there are a lot of questions. How can we harness it? What do we do with it? How can we make sure that everyone is happy and productive? These are all great questions, and they deserve answers.
While the answer is different at every company, there are some important things to keep in mind when you’re trying to figure out how to harness age diversity in the workplace.
Know Your Colleagues/Coworkers
First, it’s important that you understand where your team members are coming from. You should know what their priorities are, how they like to work, and what kind of environment they thrive in.
Encourage older workers to share their knowledge with younger colleagues. This can be done through mentoring programs, or simply by encouraging older workers to spend time with younger ones in the office chat rooms or with lunchtime meet-ups outside of work hours.
Appreciation is the Key
Make sure older and younger employees are feeling valued and appreciated for their contributions. You can do this by holding regular performance reviews, scheduling check-ins with managers, and making sure that everyone feels like they have input into decisions that affect them directly (or indirectly).
Use Technology to Your Benefit
Take advantage of technology! If you have someone on your staff who knows how to use social media platforms or other online tools well enough to teach others how to use them well—ask them! Having an “elder” on staff who can help younger employees learn how to navigate new technologies will make everyone’s lives easier (and maybe even get some more work done too). In some cases, younger employees have a better hold of technology which can help them use it more efficiently.
Learn How to Communicate
One of the most important things you can do is learn how to communicate with people from different generations. There are differences in how people communicate that can cause misunderstandings if you’re not aware of them. For example, millennials prefer texting over phone calls because they value speed and convenience over the personal conversation. Baby boomers, on the other hand, tend to prefer phone calls because they value personal connection over efficiency and may build key relationships during these calls.
There’s a lot of pressure on managers to hire younger workers because they’re considered to be more energetic and innovative. But just because someone is young doesn’t mean they’re going to be a good fit for the position, and it definitely doesn’t mean that they’ll work well with everyone else on your team. You should avoid bias in the workplace at all costs.
Value the Older Worker
When you add an older worker to your team, you are bringing a wealth of experience and knowledge that is hard to find elsewhere. They also bring reliability, loyalty, and mentoring skills which will help your company grow in many ways:
- Mentoring younger employees
- Creating a more inclusive workplace (which means less discrimination)
- Improving the morale of other employees
To harness the power of age diversity in the workplace, you need to overcome the barriers that are keeping your company from achieving its full potential.
Age diversity is a great way to create a culture of innovation and intrapreneurship, but if you’re not willing to take steps toward making real change, it won’t happen. It’s important to address these barriers head-on so that everyone can benefit from the advantages of having an age-diverse workforce.
This can be as simple as believing that younger workers are less experienced, or assuming that older workers are less technologically savvy. By overcoming these misconceptions, you can create an environment where all employees feel valued and appreciated for their unique perspectives and skill sets.
How Ageism Can be Eliminated in Recruitment?
Research tells us that many 45+ individuals see their age as a serious obstacle in finding a new job. The same goes for individuals who are young and don’t have that much experience.
Ageism in recruitment occurs when companies use age as a determining factor when hiring new employees or making decisions about existing employees’ careers. The most common way this happens is through job advertisements.
When companies post ads for jobs that require specific skills, they often include language like “recent college graduate” This language excludes anyone who doesn’t fit the criteria—and it’s usually older workers who get excluded from these opportunities.
How can ageism be eliminated from the process of hiring?
Ageism is a serious issue in the world of recruitment. It’s a problem that often goes unnoticed, but it’s worth considering when looking at how we hire and who we hire.
Ageism can be eliminated by being more open-minded when considering candidates. A person’s age isn’t always an indicator of their ability to do the job; instead, it can be an indicator of their willingness to learn and grow with your company.
Another way to eliminate ageism is to make sure you have a diverse range of people on your hiring team. This will ensure that each candidate is evaluated fairly from all angles, and not just from an ageist one.
Finally, you should always consider the long-term benefits of hiring younger employees over older ones. Or hiring older ones over younger candidates. Younger workers are often willing to work harder for less money than older workers because they’re still trying to establish themselves in their careers; this means they’ll be more likely to stay at your company long term if you give them a chance.
Similarly, older workers will have to offer much more because of their wisdom and experience.
How can Employees Respect Generational Divides?
Employees who respect the generational divide are those who understand and accept that there are differences between them and their older coworkers. They understand that these differences exist, but do not let them get in the way of what they want to accomplish together. In order to respect the generational divide, you should:
- Understand the differences between your generation and older generations.
- Respect those differences (and be prepared to explain why).
- Accept that individuals may have widely different experiences based on where they grew up, when they were born, etc., so some things will be foreign or strange to people from other parts of history or geography.
- Accept that every person has a unique set of knowledge based on what they have seen or learned over time as an employee at your company; seek out advice from others because no one knows everything about everything!
Benefits of Having Age Diversity in the Workplace
Age diversity in the workplace has a number of benefits, both for the company and for its employees.
For one thing, it can help to reduce turnover. When you have a diverse workforce, you’re more likely to be able to keep employees around longer. They’ll also be more likely to stay if they feel like their work is appreciated and if they have opportunities for advancement.
Diverse workplaces are also generally more productive because people from different age groups bring different perspectives, skillsets, and experiences to the table. This means that companies can take advantage of a wide range of ideas about what works best for them—and find ways to improve their processes as a result.
Finally, having an age-diverse workforce helps with retention rates because older workers are often highly experienced and have been working longer than younger employees (who tend to leave due to burnout or feeling unappreciated). As such, they typically have more wisdom about what works best in different situations which can help everyone else out as well.
Provides Traditional Business Skills
Age diversity in the workplace doesn’t just provide a more diverse and inclusive environment; it also provides traditional business skills such as storytelling, mentoring, and networking. These skills help to build better connections between employees and management.
For example, when an older employee tells a younger employee a story about how they overcame something at work or how they got promoted in their career, this helps build trust between them. The younger employee will feel more comfortable talking to them and sharing ideas with them because they have built up this relationship over time through stories like these.
- Age diversity brings with it a wealth of experience, knowledge, and ideas.
- Age diversity can help to improve workplace culture, productivity, and innovation. For example, older workers tend to be more loyal and committed than younger employees, which can help organizations retain top talent in their ranks for longer periods of time.
- Older employees are often better at problem-solving due to their extensive life experiences and professional expertise that they bring into the workplace every day (think about how your grandparents would tackle a problem compared to you!)
Embracing Age Diversity in the Workplace – Practical Steps
Create an inclusive workplace by creating a culture where employees feel comfortable bringing up issues regarding diversity or inclusion and offering training.
Recognize and celebrate the contributions of older workers through recognition and promotion: if an older worker has done something for your company that deserves acknowledgment, let them know. The same goes for the younger workforce.
Provide flexible work arrangements for all employees, including those who may have caretaking responsibilities outside of work. This can include flexible working hours, telecommuting options, and job-sharing opportunities (or options to be part-time)
Offer training and development opportunities that are relevant to your organization’s strategy as well as the personal development needs of individuals at all levels within the organization (not just top management).
Consider offering mentoring programs that tie into learning goals or career aspirations while helping with networking opportunities with peers outside their immediate work group – especially if they don’t yet feel comfortable taking on more challenging assignments at this stage in their career path.
How to be an Anti-Ageist at the Workplace?
Everyone has a different idea of what being an anti-ageist at the workplace means, but there are some things you can do to be more inclusive and to help others feel supported.
Treat all people equally, regardless of their age. While you may have different experiences, that should not determine how you treat others.
Do not make assumptions about people based on age but rather on who they are and what they have done. You never know what they have to offer!
Don’t assume that because someone is older or younger than you, they are less qualified or experienced in the field.
If you’re concerned about a coworker’s age, don’t ask them how old they are or make any comments about their age around them. Instead, talk to your boss or HR representative instead of making assumptions about someone’s competence based on their age.
Remember that everyone has different experiences and opinions based on their life experiences, so it’s important not to assume that everyone will respond positively to criticism from someone who doesn’t share those experiences.
Ready to Use Age Diversity to Your Organization’s Benefit?
Harnessing the power of age diversity on your business’s team doesn’t mean getting rid of those who are too old. It doesn’t mean pushing those who are too young for too much responsibility. Instead, it means tapping into all of the talents that are around you, regardless of age. It’s about creating an environment where all members share a sense of purpose and work to achieve the same goals. If you keep this in mind, harnessing the power of age diversity will come as a natural part of your business’ culture.